Cycling Part Deux – Dundas Valley Conservation Area


Today marked my second weekend of spring cycling.

Last weekend, if you haven’t read my previous post yet (find it here), The Boy and I officially took out our bikes for the first time.  We cycled 7km on the Sunday and 16km on the Monday.  All our cycling was done on paved trails or city streets with gradual inclines and small hills, nothing overly difficult or dramatic.  BUT that doesn’t mean it was easy for me 😉  I huffed and puffed my way up some of those “barely there” inclines.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I was sore.  It was a good pain of course. I felt as though I’d pushed myself and accomplished something.  I also looked quite dorky limping up and down stairs as my calves *really* hurt! lol  I also felt as though I had quite a ways to go if I wanted to reach my goal of biking a 35km route at the end of June.  Two or three days recovery after a fairly straightforward and easy cycling route is probably not the best example of cardio fitness.

Five days passed and today I went out again…and I surprised myself.

The day started out quite grim and foggy but the threatening rain gave way to sun and it turned out to be a perfect cycling day.  I biked over to  a friend’s house and her daughter, her and I went out for a ride.  We cycled around McMaster University and then jumped on the Rail Trail that led into the Dundas Conservation Area.

I say I surprised myself because all told, 4km to and from my friend’s house plus 8km into the conservation area and back (total approx 24km) and I was still raring to go.  I wasn’t tired, out of breath or just ‘dead’ as I was last Monday after our 16km jaunt.  Not to mention, the path today was mainly unpaved and was completely on an incline on the way in…so the effort required should have been considerably more.

But here I am, a few hours after my outing, sitting at home, having a glass of wine and feeling pretty good.  (In fairness, let’s wait and see how I feel in the morning, shall we? lol)  Can a person’s muscles and cardio improve that much in one week?  I haven’t recently cycled since last fall so I doubt muscle memory is in play here.

If I truly feel fine tomorrow, after cycling 24km today…all I can say is that my 35km goal may be a goal beaten much much sooner than the end of June.

I also experienced something else today…Riding a good high quality bike!

My bicycle was purchased last year at CDN Tire; a CCM 1800 18 speed bike. It was cheap, only $100, which I thought quite reasonable since I wasn’t sure how much I would actually use it. Fast forward a year.  I plan on cycling quite a bit this summer and I hadn’t even remotely thought about investing in a more expensive bicycle…until now.

Today my friend swapped bikes with me for a few kms just so I could try hers out.  I can’t remember the brand at this point, but it was a 21-speed with shocks and a few other bits and pieces that were a step up from mine.

Riding that bike was amazing!!  Not only was it a smoother ride, but it felt more like an extension of myself.  It required less effort than my clunker.  I can confidently say that if I were to ride her bike, I’d easily go one-quarter more or maybe even double the distance that I am able to manage on my present bicycle.

Really makes me want to upgrade…but at the same time, this is only my second summer cycling so perhaps I should ensure that this will be a continuous activity for me before I go spending even more money on a new bike.

I’m sorely tempted though.  Especially since I arrived home and one of the first things I saw upon entering my apartment was a Canadian Tire flyer promoting bicycles this week that are half off!  $400 and $500 bicycles for half!!  The universe is playing with me! 😉 I’m sure of it!

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